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When safety concerns lead to workers' compensation claims

Florida employers are required to provide their workers with safe environments. This often means providing safety equipment and training. When an employer fails to adhere to regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with state agencies, a surge in workers' compensation claims may be cause for alarm.

This was the case in an out-of-state company with an inordinate number of workers suffering from amputations. OSHA has conducted investigations at the facility in question often and has found so many serious violations that the company was placed in the agency's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. The company's machine safety standards leave a lot to be desired, especially to those who suffered injuries as a result.

Safety guards on the machines used at the Chicago facility were absent. In addition, the company failed to adequately train employees regarding tag out/lock out procedures needed in order to remain safe when clearing jams or otherwise working on the machines. In addition to the amputations suffered by some employees, another suffered crushed bones in a hand. These types of injuries can prevent a victim from working for an extended period of time, if he or she is able to return to work at all.

Similar conditions could be present in companies here in Florida despite the fact that many companies take the safety of their employees seriously. Injured workers may seek benefits under the state's workers' compensation system, but more than likely, they would prefer not to be injured at all. Of course, even in a seemingly safe work environment, accidents can happen, but that does not mean that a company can simply ignore safety requirements.

Source: ehstoday.com, "OSHA: 15 Workers Have Suffered Amputations in the Past 5 Years at Chicago Container Manufacturer", Sandy Smith, Sept. 28, 2017

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